For most people, buses are a means of transportation to get around in your daily life, but the masterminds of the advertising world see a bus as a perfect moving canvas for the most creative and effective ambient ads. In a competition-fueled digital world, clever agencies still turn to traditional outdoor advertising with an original twist that catches people‘s eye and is thought-provoking. And they are definitely doing it right!

I collected a list of the most ingenious bus wraps spotted around the world. And some of them are so engaging, you might actually miss your bus. 

Be sure to read on for Bored Panda's in-depth interview about the benefits of going for out-of-home, transit, and bus advertisements with the Senior Director of Marketing of Vector Media, Luke Leonard.

#1

Copenhagen Zoo: Snake Bus

Copenhagen Zoo: Snake Bus

Bates Y&R Report

MsM
Community Member
7 months ago

I've heard of snakes on a plane, but this is a whole other level! 😂

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Bus adverts are just one form of out-of-home (aka OOH) advertising which does pretty much what it says on the tin: it's advertising that reaches people while they're out and about outside of their homes. Bus adverts fall under the 'transit' category of OOH but there are others, including traditional billboards and so-called street furniture that includes ads on bus stops and news racks.

Vector Media's Senior Director of Marketing, Leonard, told Bored Panda that their company specializes in bus and train transit advertising. "It's proven to give advertisers the largest possible audience with efficiency."

#2

National Geographic

National Geographic

unknown Report

Why?
Community Member
7 months ago

That's one small step for grandma, one giant bite for the shark.

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#3

Netflix: Stranger Things

Netflix: Stranger Things

Cantioy87 Report

glowworm2
Community Member
7 months ago

Genius!

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Leonard gave us a few key reasons why advertisers should choose bus advertising over other options.

  • "There are limited outdoor advertising options for billboards and signage particularly in major cities and their hot spots but bus advertising allows you to get into those hard-to-reach areas by way of driving through these districts via major thoroughfares in cities. 
  • Bus advertising comes in many shapes and sizes making it accessible to all kinds of advertisers and their budgets. Advertisers can go big and bold with what the industry calls 'Ultra Super Kings' (where the advertising covers the entire side of a bus between the wheel wells, or even bigger with fully branded Double Deckers. Alternatively smaller advertising options like King or Queen-size posters or tails (on the back). 
  • Bus advertising is scalable with vendors like Vector—we have advertising partnerships with dozens of transit authorities and bus companies in over 50 cities, so we can provide advertisers with placement in several major markets around the country all via our one-stop shop. 
  • Bus advertising is integrated with the environment around you meaning it is an efficient, economical use of existing infrastructure. Billboards are expensive because the property owners have to build massive structures that are sometimes in unfavorable locations that don't appeal to the local community, but buses are providing essential services to many communities.
  • When partnering with vendors like us, we can amplify advertising by creating experiences for consumers beyond just seeing an ad on the outside of the bus. We can do interior transformations and build custom interior environments to provide consumers a truly memorable moment."
#4

King Kong Movie

King Kong Movie

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Jo Choto
Community Member
7 months ago

That's such a skill to make a 2D image look completely 3D.

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#5

Ready To Quit?

Ready To Quit?

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Billy The Kid
Community Member
7 months ago

Brilliant idea

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Leonard also shared some great tips and tricks for how to turn heads with bus ads. They're bound to get lots of attention either way but creativity does wonders.

  • "Play off of the fact that it's a bus—warp peoples' perspective of what they think they know they're looking at. Use the doors, wheels, lights, even the passengers inside the windows or on top of the Double Decker to be playful with the creative. Make the bus look like something it's not! For example, Vector Media won a 2020 OBIE Award for Paramount Pictures' 'Playing with Fire' Double Decker advertisement that turned the vehicle into a fire truck with the characters on board.
  • Be contextually relevant—consider where this bus is and who will see it. How can you leverage the context of the environment to get attention? Consumers love being seen, represented or feeling like they're in on the joke. Make location-specific references to make connections with the people that see it."
#6

SF: Americans Abroad, Vote!

SF: Americans Abroad, Vote!

Uncle Grey Report

MsM
Community Member
7 months ago

TREMENDOUS!!! 😂😂😂

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#7

The Accordeon World Championship

The Accordeon World Championship

franknystuen Report

Catlady6000
Community Member
7 months ago

I would go just for the ad. But the musicians are actually pretty awesome!

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He added that Vector media has a lot of in-house creative production capabilities, including 3D printing and LED illumination on bus advertising. "Or even special effects like the genie smoke coming out of our Aladdin genie lamp." The cost might be higher but there's a lot of potential here to make advertising history, don't you think?

"If you follow these tips, not only will your bus advertising be effective in catching the attention of consumers but it will drive them to take pictures and share what they see on social media—meaning advertisers will gain even more media value through organic engagement online."

#8

Aladdin

Aladdin

vectormedia Report

Little Dino
Community Member
7 months ago

super cool ad, plus i loved the movie!

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#9

Colorectal Cancer Association Of Canada

Colorectal Cancer Association Of Canada

Ogilvy Report

Amber Sanders Amlie
Community Member
7 months ago

Asstounding!

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Buses are far from the only means of transportation that have had adverts plastered all over (and even inside of) them. Other OOH transit category vehicles include trucks, subway trains, taxis, and even airplanes. They’re effective because you can’t skip them and it’s hard to ignore them when they’re in your face. However, this doesn't mean that all transit ads are as creative, ingenious, or effective as the ones you can see in this post.

Partially transparent window coverage techniques and see-through graphics have made it easier than ever for advertisers to 'wrap up' the entire bus, including the windows (except for the front ones, for obvious reasons). This means that advertisers and artists have a lot more flexibility when it comes to showing off their product or spreading their public service message. Two different types of vinyl can be used, one for the windows and one for the body of the bus.

#10

Arts University Bournemouth: Boombox Bus

Arts University Bournemouth: Boombox Bus

Creative Forager Report

Amber Sanders Amlie
Community Member
7 months ago

This beyond awesome.

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#11

Specsavers: Bus Crash

Specsavers: Bus Crash

Smart Report

glowworm2
Community Member
7 months ago

How many police officers have tried to pull this bus over?

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There are lots of pros to using OOH advertising. The Canadian Out of Home Marketing and Measurement Bureau claims that OOH quickly generates reach and a high return on investment. It also generates viewer interaction and emotional connections.

There are several reasons why OOH is so good at capturing people's attention. The first is obvious: it's all about the numbers. And with your ad being outside, there will be plenty of eyeballs ogling it. Even more, if your ad's on a bus that’s zooming around town. Secondly, the Canadian OOH Marketing and Measurement Bureau claims that consumers are 33 percent more alert when they're outside. In other words—ads and brands leave deeper, lasting impressions in the fresh air.

#12

International Organization For Migration

International Organization For Migration

McCann Report

Amber Sanders Amlie
Community Member
7 months ago

This is extremely disturbing.

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#13

Duracell

Duracell

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Coleen
Community Member
7 months ago

That's cute.

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Meanwhile, the University of Alberta and Mediacom studied over 300 out-of-home advert campaigns and found that the time of the year had no impact on their effectiveness which makes them a pretty stable investment. However, what did have a significant impact was the creative execution. That means that with OOH, transit, and bus ads, creativity really is the key to getting noticed! In other words, you can’t afford to get sloppy with lazy and overly simplistic ad design.

According to them, literal ads that state facts or obvious things had the least impact. Meanwhile, ads that were single-minded, had shorter text length and larger type size were found to be more impactful.

#14

Compassion In World Farming: Stop Live Exports

Compassion In World Farming: Stop Live Exports

Elvis Report

Billy The Kid
Community Member
7 months ago

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Looking at this is actually what its like on the London buses but the sheep are better treated and they don't even have to pay the fare!

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#15

Perth Zoo: Come To The Zoo Before The Zoo Comes To You

Perth Zoo: Come To The Zoo Before The Zoo Comes To You

The Brand Agency Report

A.M. Pierre
Community Member
7 months ago

"So why did you decide to visit the zoo today?" "Well, a bus threatened me with a tiger mauling, so...."

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#16

Keep Holland Clean Foundation: Garbage Bus

Keep Holland Clean Foundation: Garbage Bus

GREY Amsterdam Report

Why?
Community Member
7 months ago

Multitasking.

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#17

Nice Legs

Nice Legs

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Billy The Kid
Community Member
7 months ago

I would be to embarrassed to sit on this bus. doesn't look like the passenger knows what people are looking at.

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#18

Optical Illusion

Optical Illusion

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Mainecoonsandhuskies
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

Oh man I thought it was real for a second

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#19

Careerbuilder: Don’t Jump

Careerbuilder: Don’t Jump

The Martin Agency Report

Mainecoonsandhuskies
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

Good idea, great execution, they could've put the website on the side and make the message more genuine

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#20

Dallas Morning News: More Reporters. More Reporting

Dallas Morning News: More Reporters. More Reporting

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Amber Sanders Amlie
Community Member
7 months ago

I don’t get it.

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#21

Dr. Best Flexible Toothbrush

Dr. Best Flexible Toothbrush

Kim Sokola&Julia Neumann Report

Eva the Ravenclaw Bookworm📚💖
Community Member
7 months ago

You sure it's also stable?

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#22

Bad Weather, Perfect Timing

Bad Weather, Perfect Timing

Mocomedia Report

ElusiveIntrovert
Community Member
7 months ago

They flooded the streets too?? :O Extreme Advertising!!

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#23

Copenhagen Zoo: The Giant Pandas Have Landed

Copenhagen Zoo: The Giant Pandas Have Landed

Advice A/S Report

MsM
Community Member
7 months ago

YAYYYY we have our own bus now, BP's!

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#24

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand

mikebarti Report

Billy The Kid
Community Member
7 months ago

As above

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#25

Visa, Wellington On A Plate Culinary Festival

Visa, Wellington On A Plate Culinary Festival

TBWA Report

MsM
Community Member
7 months ago

That lobster wants the bus all to himself. How shellfish...

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#26

Tiernitos Dog Food

Tiernitos Dog Food

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Dorothy Cloud
Community Member
7 months ago

Cute

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#27

Toydirect.com: Batteries

Toydirect.com: Batteries

Robson Brown Ltd. Report

Dorothy Cloud
Community Member
7 months ago

That's good.

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#28

Bernmobil: Airport Bus

Bernmobil: Airport Bus

Neue Lgk Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
7 months ago

And here we see the rare mating of the buses.

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#29

X-Games: Real Street Skate Festival

X-Games: Real Street Skate Festival

Kit Walker Associates Report

Zoe's Mom
Community Member
7 months ago

clever

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#30

Smint: "Bus Opened-Doors"

Smint: "Bus Opened-Doors"

DDB Barcelona Report

Animebooklover
Community Member
7 months ago

I’d hate to be the person in the middle!

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#31

All Laundry Detergent Bus

All Laundry Detergent Bus

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Jo Choto
Community Member
7 months ago

How does anyone see out of that?

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#32

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo

/hireimagination Report

Bacony
Community Member
7 months ago

*Image of entire zoo slowly crawling down a road*

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#33

Nzdating.com

Nzdating.com

Draft, New Zealand Report

PyroarRanger
Community Member
7 months ago

My brain read this as "Find perfect your match"

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#34

Mercedes: Glow In The Dark Bus

Mercedes: Glow In The Dark Bus

FHV BBDO Report

Mainecoonsandhuskies
Community Member
7 months ago

I love this

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#35

Potawatomi Zoo

Potawatomi Zoo

extracreditprojects Report

Zoe's Mom
Community Member
7 months ago

My favorite so far.

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#36

Toy Bus: Children’s Charity

Toy Bus: Children’s Charity

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Felipe StillChill
Community Member
7 months ago

A child playing with a toy bus to those who don't get it

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#37

Eyes

Eyes

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Dorothy Cloud
Community Member
7 months ago

Wonder what the product is?

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#38

Seriously Transparent Capital Metro Buses

Seriously Transparent Capital Metro Buses

bigpicture Report

Francis
Community Member
7 months ago

We had a similar ad for a hospital in Switzerland (Bern) some years back. You could find a lot of eastereggs in the xray pics :D

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#39

Compassion In World Farming: Stop Live Exports

Compassion In World Farming: Stop Live Exports

Elvis Report

Bacony
Community Member
7 months ago

Then... What did Shaun the Sheep do?

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#40

Canon's Bus Ad

Canon's Bus Ad

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mph seti
Community Member
7 months ago

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That's not a Canon DSLR.

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#41

Burger King

Burger King

BurgerKingUK Report

JD Lee
Community Member
7 months ago

At least they spelled “election” right, but it would have been far more interesting if they hadn’t.

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#42

Tabasco Bus

Tabasco Bus

duvalguillaume Report

尺ㄖᄃᄃㄖ.ⱠØⱠ
Community Member
7 months ago

best

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#43

Kontanten: Wallet

Kontanten: Wallet

"ATMs close by"

Faltman & Malmen Report

Billy The Kid
Community Member
7 months ago

To how empty that bus looks is like my wallet!

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#44

Just One Bite

Just One Bite

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TuxCat13
Community Member
7 months ago

Disturbing and gross as heck.

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#45

Seattle Mariners Bus Back Scoreboard

Seattle Mariners Bus Back Scoreboard

mister_pjm Report

Sawdust
Community Member
7 months ago

Clever incorporating the bus ID number.

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#46

Community First Credit Union: Flexible Bus

Community First Credit Union: Flexible Bus

I.D.E.A.S. Report

Grace Vukasovic
Community Member
7 months ago

it looks photoshopped

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#47

National Council Against Smoking In The US

National Council Against Smoking In The US

Lowe Bull, Johannesburg, South Africa Report

Bacony
Community Member
7 months ago

What if it's a wreck?

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#48

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers

Lowe Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
7 months ago

That's just rude.

Phunny Philosopher
Community Member
7 months ago

Being against fat-shaming does not automatically mean you glorify obesity. It's the "shaming" part I have a problem with. It's bullying. "Let's make fun of the fat dude! In order to make ourselves feel better!" No one should be bullied. Not even oversensitive babies.

Phunny Philosopher
Community Member
7 months ago

Furthermore, there is no such thing as the correct amount of sensitivity. Sensitivity is completely subjective. So if someone tells me I'm too sensitive, that shows they are uncomfortable with my reaction. That leads me to ask why? What is it about them that makes them want me to be less sensitive? That is a fallacy. Also, using shame as a motivational tool is quite ineffective. So if you truly wish to promote a healthy weight for everyone, one of the least effective ways is to fat-shame.

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Amber Sanders Amlie
Community Member
7 months ago

Yeah, let’s shame people, what a fantastic marketing strategy.

Bill
Community Member
7 months ago

Shaming people IS their business model

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Lazy Panda
Community Member
7 months ago

Why is it so hard for people to grasp that just because we are against blatantly disrespecting people doesn’t mean we’re glorifying obesity

Stille20
Community Member
7 months ago

Right?! YES PEOPLE KNOW BEING HEAVY IS UNHEALTHY. That doesn't meaning it's okay to mock them for it.

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MsM
Community Member
7 months ago

👎👎

Thalia Lovering
Community Member
7 months ago

This lacks of taste.

Bob Belcher
Community Member
7 months ago

So I've visited this thread a few times now and just wanted to point out one thing that hasn't been touched on. I have always seen blame passed onto the individuals for their size, but how about we focus on the food companies. Just think about how what we eat has changed over the past 50 or even just 20 years. I remember when bacon was like a once a month thing if you were well to do and lean meats were common place. Then the pork and beef industry started selling lower quality meats and jacked up the prices on what we normally eat. The pork industry also ran massive marketing campaigns on bacon which the fast food giants bought up and started putting bacon in everything. While we still need to be responsible for ourselves, a large part of the blame belongs to the food industry.

Courtney Christelle
Community Member
7 months ago

I don't find this one funny at all.

Slune
Community Member
7 months ago

I like that! It's a fact, just blown up like so many other advertisements to catch the eye.

Teresa Groth
Community Member
7 months ago

Funny

Ashley Richard
Community Member
7 months ago

Alright listen, it is NOT okay to shame people on their weight, but it is also not healthy to be overweight OR underweight. I agree that this bus is going to far, but i also agree that if you are overweight, try to get some exercise once in awhile? Like take a morning jog if you'd like. I'm not shaming you or trying to be mean, i'm just saying its not okay to be unhealthy. Same thing goes for people who are underweight, try to eat just enough food to where you can get through the day. Please stay safe and have a lovely day/night.

Kim St
Community Member
7 months ago

sorry it is rude but, funny

Mishte Tine
Community Member
7 months ago

Not funny. Not clever. Not helpful. Not good in any way.

KandiePrine
Community Member
7 months ago

Hilarious!

Aileen
Community Member
7 months ago

I don't get why it's tilted though.

Aileen
Community Member
7 months ago

Nvm I get it now. Wow, that's just mean.

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ArhomR
Community Member
7 months ago

On a lighter note, maybe the bus has a flat tire.

ArhomR
Community Member
7 months ago

Down vote?! ?! Aw, c’mon. It was a dad joke.

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Toni
Community Member
7 months ago

omg

Lia Joseph
Community Member
7 months ago

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🤣

Sue Hubbard
Community Member
7 months ago

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I think it's hilarious.

cassiushumanmother
Community Member
7 months ago

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it's a good one because it say nothing! And way more better than "i was ... now i'm anorexic but feel better" adds. I'm not overweight, i always found that adds very bad.

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Ahmed Samer Khalil
Community Member
7 months ago

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Well, because SOME people dont get the fricking fact that being fat is NOT OKAY ITS NOT HEALTHY neither is being skinny You need to face the hard truth, its not being mean but you cannot shame someone for being fat except if they don't want to get better there is no such thing as healthy at any size and all that bullshit also being thin is not anorexia. some people are actually too sensitive man

Rissie
Community Member
7 months ago

Being ignorant is more dangerous than anything, and you seem to be very, very ignorant.

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cassiushumanmother
Community Member
7 months ago

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It's a vast subject! These add don't shock me at all. It's just fun and change from "i was overweight and know i'm anorexic and lovin it » adds  and i agree with Cooter McCoughlin unless this « Or we can just be over-sensitive babies about everything and encourage people to be fat because it's better for them to be dead than to feel bad enough to start working on themselves. » NO ONE should "feel bad enough to", if someone have an addiction, it's an addiction and you can't shame them because of the addiction, you don't know. As a smocker i don't feel offended at all by "antismoke adds", and i will tell every young to not smoke because it's a hell and a straight way to die. It's a choice and not at all a choice (i smoked in front of parents at 14) for me to smoke, but i know that it kill and that i problably will die of it. That's the same for obesity, it kills people, and people should know that it kills. This add is just funny, like the one with a smocker face on a bus muffler.

Kim Hardcastle
Community Member
7 months ago

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Couldn't agree more Cooter, people are such sensitive babies these days.

Ahmed Samer Khalil
Community Member
7 months ago

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exactly fam these people have no common sense

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#49

Outofhomedia: Ad Block This

Outofhomedia: Ad Block This

&Co Report

Colin Allcars
Community Member
7 months ago

Do the Ad Blocker companies stop to think about the fact that they are posting ads?

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#50

Topfit: Exceed. Be At The Top

Topfit: Exceed. Be At The Top

martpet Report

Why?
Community Member
7 months ago

Soon to be an Olympic sport.

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Note: this post originally had 100 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.